Normally, friendships formed during filming last only as long as the film. But not in the case of Azhar. Now that the film is out, Emraan Hashmi who plays the famous cricketer, says he will continue to be in touch with Mohammad Azharuddin.
“This is not just a film where the cast and crew get together and then disperse. I spent a good one-and-a-half years with Azhar. During that time he surrendered his thoughts completely to me. He poured his heart out. I now know him well enough to say he’s a lifelong friend, though we are not the same age. He’s much elder to me. But there’s a bonding between us that goes beyond the film,” says an emotional Emraan.
Now that he knows him so closely, we ask the actor if he thinks the cricketer is guilty of match-fixing. Emraan ponders over that one and then answers quietly, “It was very important for me as an actor not to judge Azhar for what he did personally or professionally.
I went into the script as a neutral party. It was the only way I could approach the character with honesty and sincerity. And if you insist on an answer, I’d say, no, I don’t think he was guilty.”
At the time of events, Emraan had followed the case closely. “I remember it very well as it occupied so much media space. Everyone had an opinion then and everyone has an opinion now, even after the film is out. But I guess that’s what the film was supposed to do.
There are sections of the media that have questioned our film’s prerogative to declare him non-guilty. But let’s not forget — the courts had declared him innocent of match fixing. So who are we to judge him?” On Azhar’s personal life too, Emraan doesn’t want to pass on any judgement.
“Many have critiqued him for having wronged his first wife. But again, it’s not my place to judge him for his life’s decisions. I went with whatever he chose to do in his life. It was his life. I was only playing him on screen,” says the actor adding that he’s glad that the film has opened well. “Critics have liked my performance and so has the audience. I think the collections are likely to equal those of Jannat 2.”
This comes as a welcome relief for Emraan whose past few films didn’t do well at the ticket windows. “If only we knew what works at the box-office, we would never have unsuccessful films. Now, I only have Raaz Rebooted to look forward to and I am reading a lot of scripts,” signs off the actor....